“Tis the season, right? It’s Christmas and if there ever was a time we needed Christmas it is now. Our country is yearning for this holiday season so badly, folks were putting their trees up in October. We want Christmas and all the trimmings. Bring on the love, the good cheer, the hope, the hot chocolate by the fire, and stockings hung by the chimney with care. Oh, and the egg nog! Bring it on!
Today, as I contemplated what I was going to write in this post an idea began to form and follow me from room to room and wouldn’t let go. The baby. THE baby. I’m not one to believe that baby Jesus was born in December, but I do believe He was born and lived and died and lives again. With that said, it always gives me great joy to see our world stop its craziness long enough to celebrate His miraculous birth. However, this year it feels different, doesn’t it? We’ve been known to allow too much wrapping paper and tinsel to fall upon the manager. Now, in our time of greatest unrest and insecurity, I think we’re all feeling that sparkle and shiny paper just won’t cut it. We want the manager back.
I spent a lot of time today looking at artwork depicting Jesus’ birth. If you’ve studied art history at all, you know that our most infamous artists found great inspiration in the birth of Jesus. Painting after painting, brush stroke after brush stroke, the baby Jesus appears on canvases across the world in abundance. Each beautiful. So much watercolor, acrylic, and oils dedicated to a baby, an event. that on the surface, was nothing special. Babies come. Babies go. Yet, this one changed the course of the world.
A husband leads a donkey that his very pregnant wife sits uncomfortably upon. They travel for hours. Their inexperience is obvious but both know the baby is coming soon. The husband prays silently as he steps carefully over the stone path. He prays for the child to stay put until they find lodging. A birth on the side of the road is not desirable. The dark sky above, a star-filled canvas, gives the couple something beautiful to gaze upon rather than just dust and endless trail.
As they enter a crowded Bethlehem their hope of lodging wanes. Yet, God is good as He provides a hewn-out stable with clean straw, a trough and privacy. It is an unremarkable birth, however, it ushers into the world the holiest of holies. At the child’s first breath the universe trembles. As the babe’s tiny fists touch his mother’s face for the first time, the sky above bursts and fills with heavenly hosts who sing and herald the coming of the Messiah. His olive skin, deep set eyes, and a healthy wail signal to his parents that, indeed, a baby changes everything.
Merry Christmas, dear ones. May the baby of the manager, the preacher from the shore, and the victor over the cross give you peace.